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Author Guest Post With Carol K. Carr

Help me welcome Carol to the blog. She was kind enough to do a guest post, and be sure to read my review of India Black tomorrow!!

Freda, thank you for inviting me to visit your blog. I'm very happy to be here and introduce your readers to India Black.

India is the young and beautiful madam of a brothel in Victorian London. When a government minister dies in her establishment and the portfolio of War Office documents he was carrying goes missing, India finds herself blackmailed into helping the British government recover the case from the Russian agents who have stolen it. She is joined in the pursuit by a handsome British agent named French, and an odiferous street urchin called Vincent. The chase leads from the Russian embassy to one of London's grand hotels, and finally across the English Channel to France.

Writers are always instructed to "write what you know." I want to go on record that India Black is not based on personal experience. I am not now, nor ever have been, in the brothel business (although people have pointed out that as I am a lawyer, I am surely well acquainted with the ethics of prostitution, the professions being so similar). The background for India is much more mundane.

I am fascinated by the Victorian Era, and I wanted to set my story in that period. Part of that fascination is the similarities of that era to our own. There is a strong religious element in both societies, and a great divide between the rich and poor. The British had the most powerful military in the world, as the U.S. does today. Where it differs is that there was a great emphasis on public rectitude and respectable behavior during the Victorian period, but under the surface was a seething mess of poverty, crime and sexual freedom. We're a lot more open about those things today.

As to the inspiration for India, I must say that I've got a soft spot for heroes and heroines with flaws, especially if the characters are blithely ignorant of these faults, and if the authors play them for laughs. I'm thinking of Ruth Dudley Edward's heroine, Baroness Troutbeck (who takes political incorrectness to fabulous levels, and Amelia Peabody (who has the self-assurance of a runaway bulldozer). Because I'm drawn to these kinds of characters, it seemed natural to create my own.

I certainly did not want a heroine who occupied herself with needlework or drawing lessons, nor one whose credibility and access to power came through her husband, his family, or his connections. I wanted a heroine who was an outsider to conventional society, who has worked hard to make her own way in the world, and who had acquired street smarts along the way. She needed an independent source of income, and the freedom to come and go as she pleased. The notion that she should own her own brothel occurred very early to me. And I must admit, having spent a few years in the Human Resources department of a large company, the idea of "managing" a group of whores seemed full of comic possibilities.

India's personality reflects my own in some ways. We share a cynical world of view, especially of politics, politicians and do-gooders. We are both pragmatic and concentrate on the bottom line. Neither of us has much patience, and we're too impetuous for our own good. We are not romantics. We are not shocked at the depravity and hypocrisy in the world. And we both have trouble with authority. Her voice comes easily to me, and I have a lot of fun writing her. But I can tell you I'm not nearly as brave as India, and would probably be intimidated by things she finds invigorating.

I've learned quite a bit from the experience of writing India. Because she is such a strong personality, it's tempting to let her character become impossibly clever and outrageously cynical. She can literally get away from me, which sounds ridiculous, as I'm the one writing her, and your characters should just do what you tell them to do. There are many writers who can tell you this is not true. Characters do take on a life of their own and lead you in directions you hadn't intended to go, or become something you didn't intend them to become. India prides herself on her self-control, but sometimes I have to let a little of that slip so that readers can see that she does have emotions and feelings, even if she is loathe to show them.

In the next installment of India's adventures, she (and French and Vincent, of course) travel to Scotland to protect an important member of the royal family. There will be swordplay, treason, secret passages, and even some Scottish dancing to liven things up. I don't have a publication date yet, but I'd anticipate that it will be sometime in 2012.

To learn more about India and me, you can visit our website at


  1. Wow...sounds like quite a story and India quite the character! On the "write what you know"'s very true since the experience has been lived through but thanks for the clarification on your own bachground. (LOL) Great interview...thanks ladies!

  2. I am so looking forward to the next one. India is just fascinating.

  3. Another great interview with Carol! Freda, in case any of your followers are interested, Carol & I are offering her book in a give-away over at my place....anyone in the US/Canada can enter & you don't have to be a follower of mine. Entry link:

  4. carol, thanks for visiting freda's blog and introducing me to india! i love that her story is set in the victorian period.

  5. Wonderful guest post -- even though I 'met' India through the book, it's so enjoyable reading about Carol's thoughts on India and the writing of her story. I am so desperately excited for the next book!

  6. Counting down the clock to when we'll see India back again.

    Great guest post Freda and loved the insight with Carol to enlighten us all on our favorite Madame.


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